Hope vs Hate: Diary, 5/6 to 5/9/21

The Author Rapt

{5/6/21}  Weight 211.6.

I watched Bushwhackers, starring John Ireland, Dorothy Malone, and Lon Chaney (Jr.)–! It was very silly, in B&W, a few other recognizable names/faces. NOT recommended, though I watched the whole thing. Chaney looked dreadful.

{5/7/21}  Weight 211.8 at 5:35 am.

So last night it was Savage Guns, a spaghetti western in which, to avenge his slaughtered family, a lone gunman kills everyone in sight.  Often silly, completely uninvolving, not entertaining.

Looking into Nick Chater:  The Mind is Flat, I see that I need to reread it.  The little that I read reinforced my thought that “mindfulness,” which I take to mean focusing on the here-and-now to the exclusion of extraneous thoughts or “monkey chatter,” is not what thinkers should be doing if they want to make efficient use of their time.  This directly opposes the conventional wisdom about solving problems unconsciously, as advised in books on creativity.

However:  the Wikipedia article on Creativity Techniques leads me to think that I’m way behind the curve and should pontificate about this later, after some reading.

The WordPress menu system continues to give me grief.  I created a page specifically to guide visitors to the various “Bleak Philosophy” pages, including a description and link to each document.  Now I can’t find that page.  I am resistant to creating it again, because it was considerable work; but the problem it was designed to solve thus remains yet to be solved.

Amory Lovins, guest on Kamp Solutions just now offered the most hopeful view of climate change that I’ve seen in ages.  I joined in the middle; it’s on again at 2:00.

And I see now what I must do.  I don’t need constant reinforcement of my view that “The End is Near,” that the Class War is lost, that Republicans are vile foot soldiers for the 1%, that Trump is a crook, that climate change will destroy civilization, and so on; these things are likely true, but they’re depressing.  In other words, the news and left wing talk TV are—have become—bad for me, serving mostly to reinforce my terror and hate.  I need happier news, but I don’t mean “happy talk” news.  I need more Link TV and less Free Speech TV and less MSNBC.  I need more solutions and fewer problems.

A thought about Kick Me:  An item from Neuroscience News that I had printed for my file says, “Researchers say we constantly create false memories to help us achieve the identity we want” and “It is becoming increasingly clear that, at any given moment, we unawarely tend to choose and pick what to remember.”  How, then, are we to “know thyself”?

“Picking and choosing memories is actually the norm, guided by self-enhancing biases that lead us to rewrite our past so it resembles what we feel and believe now.  Inaccurate memories and narratives are necessary, resulting from the need to maintain a positive, up-to-date sense of self.” (Ibid.)

Fie!  I don’t want a positive sense of self unless I’ve earned it—I want an accurate sense of self.  I believe that accurate memories can be stimulated; memories can be sought systematically.  Reading a memoir like KM is likely to stimulate memories in the reader, memories they might otherwise not care to recall.  Writing it certainly did that for me.

Who wants the truth about themself?

Now that I’m about to publish the book (or so I think this morning), it’s good to know a good reason for doing it.  If people can see what assholes they’ve been, as I did, maybe then they can decide that they really need to shape up.

Posted “Classical Music We’ll Never Hear” on the blog; dozens of puns and jokes like: Mother Goose and Lohen Grimm; Boris Not Quite Godunov; The Magic Flautas; Octet for Octopus; The Moonshine Sonata.  I read it and reread it and can’t help laughing.

Watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the 2003 remake.  Fairly well done if you like that sort of thing; I didn’t like that sort of thing.  I’ve never seen the original.  I got this as one of a package of five horror movies, which it turns out are mostly remakes with familiar titles—“there oughta be a law.”

Dictated six pages, a task I’ve been neglecting.

{5/8/21}  Weight 212.2 at 5:35 am.

Eight pages of dictation this morning, fourteen to clean—tedious work ahead.  But it’s very rewarding, and if any of my “work” is important, this is, because it’s all about me and my quest for self-actualization (which, alas, is not intended by Maslow to be a goal).  Except when it’s not.

Just talked to Nog; he’ll be coming over later, Sunday’s Hemlock Club may be cancelled or rescheduled; we’ll be talking about Kick Me.  A quote from Nog during the conversation:  “A machine made of monkey wrenches.”

Something I wrote in the Bullet Journal a few days ago:  “News hunger:  I rip the bandages off to see the cancer eating the world; there is nothing I can do; so I distract myself and medicate myself or otherwise look away.  And I do the same thing the next day.”

In January, 2011, I wrote:  “…the more we build models, the more of those models hide the mystery from us. But: can we actually ever experience the mystery?”  What is it we experience, in terms of “models and mysteries”?  I’m thinking now that we live among the mysteries, but our perception is colored (and perhaps overwhelmed) by the models we use or are committed to in some way.

Also that month, I was bitter with grief over the loss of my father 64 years earlier, and I have not seen the last of that mood, I’m sure.  How, then, can I continue to deny whatever Oliver might want from me?

Any doubt that my prison diary is a good thing?  Not in my mind.  It’s worth every bit of the work and worry it’s caused me.

Listening to Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, impressed and moved for the umpteenth time.

A lot of good work done today, not much depression, though a conversation with Nog was heavy.  I didn’t take notes during the abbreviated “Hemlock Club” meeting at my place, perhaps I can note a few things.  Pablo arrived around 5:30 and we talked about Dostoyevsky and his A Raw Youth, apparently a kind of follow-up to The Possessed, and I noted that it was written first-person and I wondered whether Crime and Punishment was also.  We talked about Faulkner’s use of first person.  Gideon, who was also present, had nothing to say, being along merely for the ride, you might say.  I nixed the plan to watch both Andromeda and Baraka, so we watched only an episode of Andromeda.  I called it “Star Trek on stupid pills.”

Nog arrived at about the end of the show.  Pablo talked about his saxophone gig at the art gallery.  Nog remained behind after Pablo and Gideon left around 8:45.  We talked a lot about Pablo and also my feeling bad about my “news hunger” and the state of the world.  We also talked some about Kick Me, of which he had read not very much, though he was positive about the nature of the book—my main concern.  We will talk about it again when he’s read more.

We’ll be meeting on Saturday at Café Smitten at 9:00; Pablo’ll be saxophoning at 10:00.  Let’s hope he doesn’t “phone it in.”

{5/9/21}  Weight 213.2 at 4:40 am.

Something interesting in the prison diary. My blowup at my bridge partner was not quite as outrageous as I had remembered it and described it. I had only bid the suit twice, while I had remembered it as three times. And I had one less card in the suit than I remembered, and I did not double, which I thought I had done.  On top of that, I remembered their bid as three notrump, not two.  Many details incorrect, and every error was in the direction of making the incident more outrageous.

A few days back I was quoting the item in Neuroscience News about how we falsify our memories, and there’s a very minor but “textbook” example.  I essentially had played up my role as wounded bridge partner, apparently to “justify” my rather outrageous behavior.

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